LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky native Jordan Smith, winner of season 9 of NBC's hit competition show The Voice, will serve as grand marshal of the 2016 Republic Bank Pegasus Parade, the Kentucky Derby Festival announced on Friday.
"Our list of grand marshals is a who's who of notable Kentuckians, and we are thrilled to add Jordan to the top of that list," Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO Mike Berry said. "He joins a long line of Kentuckians who are making our Commonwealth proud in many walks of life. He'll no doubt have everyone singing as he makes his way down the parade route."
Smith, 22, who hails from Harlan, in the extreme southeastern part of Kentucky, grew up in a musical family and pursued singing at Lee University in Cleveland, TN.
Smith is the highest-selling artist to ever emerge from The Voice. In less than six months, he has sold more than one-million singles and made The Voice history by landing four songs in the Top 10 - the most of any artist from the show. Three of his songs hit number one on all of iTunes.
He released a full-length album, Jordan Smith: The Complete Season 9 Collection, on iTunes the day after his win. Overnight, the album skyrocketed to the Top 5 on the iTunes Overall Album Chart and debuted on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart at number 11. Smith also holds the record on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs Chart for "the first act to own both the #1 and #2 titles concurrently" with Mary Did you Know and Hallelujah.
The theme of the 61st annual Pegasus Parade will be Fun for the Arts, inspired by the Fund for the Arts, Louisville's local and the country's oldest united arts fund.
"We are incredibly excited that the Derby Festival and Republic Bank have selected Fun for the Arts as the 2016 parade theme," Fund for the Arts President and CEO Christen Boone said. "Our world-class arts community makes our region exceptional, and we're thrilled to showcase the power of the arts up and down Broadway and across all of Derby City."
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The parade theme is used by sponsoring companies to help direct the building of floats and costuming of the inflatable handlers and crew. The floats compete for various awards based on originality, eye appeal, theme representation, animation, attention to detail and enthusiasm. Marching bands use the theme to help with musical selection, and it is the basis of costume and concept design for the other marching units.
The Kentucky Derby Festival is still looking for participants for the parade in the following categories: Equestrian, Specialty Unit, Marching Band, Inflatable and Float. Applications can be downloaded online at www.kdf.org. Anyone with additional information about participating in the parade can contact Jon Pollock at 502-572-3833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2016 Pegasus Parade will march down Broadway on Thursday, May 5. As always, the parade will be held two days before the Kentucky Derby and air live at 5:30 p.m. exclusively on WAVE 3 News, the official broadcast home of the Pegasus Parade since 1982.